E-connectivity is paramount to be competitive in today’s market. Nebraska Farm Bureau is working with the Public Service Commission and many stakeholders to ensure implementation of the Precision Agriculture Infrastructure Grant Program (PRO-AG) created this legislative session in LB 1144 is as effective as possible. Under the program, these grants may be awarded to wireless network providers that provide adequate precision agriculture connectivity, or to an agricultural cooperative, agronomist, or agricultural producer.
On behalf of the Ag Leaders Working Group, Nebraska Farm Bureau submitted comments to the Nebraska Public Service Commission (NPSC), which detailed the group’s recommendations for implementation of the grant program. The purpose of PRO-AG is to propel Nebraska agricultural producers to lead the nation in precision agriculture connectivity, sustainability, traceability, and autonomy to accelerate rural economic development, and to provide high-speed Internet service to farm sites in unserved areas of the state.
PRO-AG grants may be used to provide the following:
- Adequate precision agriculture connectivity to on-farm structures and devices,
- On-farm traceability solutions that satisfy food supply stakeholder demand,
- Products that improve soil health, water management tools and sensors that facilitate judicious use of water resources, and products that promote the use of water efficiency seed technologies that lower agriculture’s water, carbon, and nitrate footprint, and
- Products that use autonomous solutions in agricultural machinery.
The Act is funded at $2 million per year for five years and requires the Public Service Commission to award up to one-half of the available grant funds for the purpose stated under subsection (a) above, ensuring adequate precision agriculture connectivity to on-farm structures. The Act further requires the Commission to award up to one-half of the available grant funds to the purposes stated under subsections (b), (c), and (d).
The seven agriculture organizations that make up the Ag Leaders Working Group are Nebraska Farm Bureau, Nebraska Cattlemen, Nebraska Corn Growers Association, Nebraska Dairy Association, Nebraska Soybean Growers Association, Nebraska Pork Producers, and Nebraska Wheat Growers Association.
For more information, please contact Bruce Rieker, senior director of state public policy at Nebraska Farm Bureau at firstname.lastname@example.org or (402)432-4185.